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What More Than a Decade of Drought Has Done to Lake Powell

The nation's second-largest manmade reservoir has shrunk down to a virtual muddy pond.
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NASA

Optimists would say this reservoir is half full. They'd be wrong: Lake Powell, the nation's second-largest manmade reservoir, was at only 42 percent capacity as of Tuesday.

Powell provides water and electricity to a bunch of Western states, but it's getting dangerously close to becoming a useless puddle after more than a decade of drought. The reservoir's diminished state is clear in these images snapped by the Landsat 8 satellite. Above, the lake's northern section in Utah is slightly moistened by a muddy Colorado River. Bleached rocks the color of ivory show where water stands when the reservoir is full.